1. Describe 2023 in three words

Artificial Intelligence Chaos

2. Plug those three words into What3Words . That is where you are going on holiday next year. Where is it and are you happy?

North Pacific Ocean between Honolulu & Japan, if I can break the trip in Tokyo I will be very happy 

On days as cold as today, MAD//Insight can see the appeal of the North Pacific Ocean.

3. What do you want in your Christmas stocking in the real world?

A pair of socks that actually fit, a bottle of gin that actually lasts, and a book that actually explains exactly how to navigate the new era of AI powered marketing.

4. An AI algorithm has created your perfect Christmas. Where are you, who is cooking and what entertainment have you got lined-up?

I’m in a virtual ski resort, surrounded by snow and mountains. I’m cooking a traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings. The entertainment is a live performance by Nick Cave who is unusually melancholy and covering a range of Christmas classics.

5. How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa? Did you ever stop?

I never stopped believing in Santa. He’s the ultimate brand icon, with a distinctive visual identity, a loyal customer base and the ultimate personalised distribution network. Santa is the epitome of marketing excellence.

6. What’s your single biggest lesson of 2023?

The single biggest lesson of 2023 is that marketing is not dead, despite what the  prophets of doom might say. Marketing is alive and kicking and more relevant than ever in a world of uncertainty, complexity, and change. Marketing is the art and science of creating value for customers, and that’s something that will never go out of fashion.

7. What’s your favourite ad/campaign of 2023?

The best ad (campaign) of 2023 was Dove: Detox Your Feed, an important topic handled in a clever way – this is what brands should be doing to tackle societal issues in a way that’s true to what the brand stands for.

8. Who is winning the best Christmas ad battle in 2023?

The 2023 Christmas ad battle is a close contest between John Lewis and Aldi. John Lewis has a heartwarming ad witha young boy who grows the ‘perfect Christmas tree’ – a massive Venus flytrap – that eats all the presents but turns out festive in the end. Aldi is a vintage Christmas ad with Kevin the Carrot – already the popular Aldi mascot– and all his Christmas Veg mates inside a willy Wonka style factory creating all the Christmas fare & havoc. Both ads are decent, but I give the edge to Aldi, for its cheeky humour and strong presentation of the Aldi offer of good quality fresh food, seasonal items & a purposeful community message. Spot on!

9. What are your 3 big predictions for 2024?

My 3 big predictions for 2024 are:

  • More AI – taking over everything – getting more powerful and grabbing far too many headlines
  • Backlash against cookieless advertising, as consumers and regulators demand transparency and control over how their data is used and shared by online platforms / advertisers, creating new challenges & opportunities for marketers.
  • Political horror show with the return of Trump and a very messy British election; the extreme right will continue to rise across the globe – China will assert its power and the Middle East will continue to burn 

10. 2024 is the Chinese year of the Dragon - the traits of people born in the year of the dragon include being confident and lucky. What are you confident about for 2024 and what, with a bit of luck, do you hope for?

2024 will be a year of growth & innovation as marketers embrace AI, new tech, new media and new ways of connecting with customers. Apart from anything else this will be a great opportunity for my company P E C O R I N O to show what we can do to help brands evolve & grow at the speed of change! Also, I was born in the year of the Golden Dragon – so it’s a biggie for me too!!!

11. Which brand should we look out for next year?

I'm gonna say Spotify – which has become a dominant player in the audio industry. Embracing AI (personalised playlists etc) & expanding beyond music, with podcasts, audiobooks and original content. Spotify has will get behind Spotify Greenroom, a live audio app that allows users to join or host live conversations and Spotify Blend, that allows users to create a playlist with a friend based on shared musical tastes. Spotify is constantly innovating & evolving, and will continue to surprise and delight in 2024.

And finally…

12. Mince Pies - Christmas food heaven or hell?

Mince pies are Christmas food heaven, of course. Delicious, festive, and easy to make. Hot or cold, with cream or custard, mince pies are a staple of (British) Christmas tradition, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Unless of course you offer Panatone!!!